Energy efficiency while away

Options for vacation homes, timeshares, and vacant units

So. You’ve solved the away conundrum. You have the tech and insight while you’re away. Being separate from your property is no longer scary.

Well, there’s still more you can do. You can be more than just aware. After all, what’s the point of data if you never use it? Why know how much energy you’re using if you never plan to reduce it? You can be efficient, too. And let’s face it. Cutting down on costs wherever you can is great.

Here are some pro tips to running that vacation home, timeshare, or vacant unit more efficiently.

Heating and cooling

The heating and cooling of a house is the most expensive business. It would be nice to just turn the HVAC off, and during the summers, that’s an option. It saves money, and no harm is done. But, for winter, make sure to set your thermostat to 50 degrees so your pipes don’t freeze. Maybe you’d save money on utilities, but is that worth a flooded basement?

Treat your water heater the same. Shut off the circuit to the water heater when away during the summers, and put it on the lowest setting for winters. Save money by keeping heat at the lowest setting, but don’t lose to a disaster.

Bonus tip: try to replace air filters every 5–6 months to keep your HVAC running at its best for longer. Oftentimes this equipment runs down quickly just due to dirty filters.

Appliances and electronics

It’s best to just unplug all electronics before leaving a property. Not only does this eliminate a (minor) expense, but it also removes a possible fire hazard.

Unplugging the fridge is also useful if a property will be unused for a while, as this is a huge energy hog.

Lights

Invest in LEDs and automatic lights for unoccupied timeshares or vacation homes. LEDs last longer and are highly efficient, and automatic lights set a timer so that the home appears occupied for certain times during the day. Now, you don’t have to worry about leaving a light on indefinitely to keep squatters away.